the weekly emailing
Why I March
More than 200 people from UCC churches across the Conference have indicated that they will take part in the Boston Women's March this weekend, and another 50 are planning to travel to Washington DC for the march there. Still others will gather in other locations. (Get more information here.)

The Massachusetts Conference recently invited them to answer the question: "Why does your faith call you to march?"

Nancy Taylor
The Rev. Nancy S. Taylor writes: When Jesus had something to say to the powers and principalities he staged a march upon a capital city. Admittedly, it was a wobbly thing. A donkey. No stomping, snorting stallions. No weapons or armor. They didn't march neatly, in line, in step. There was nothing crisp about it. It was a wobbly thing, this un-assault or anti-assault upon the seat of power. Yet, these 2000 years later that march still speaks, defies, and clarifies.  

Marisa Brown-Ludwig
The Rev. Marisa Brown-Ludwig writes: I will be at the Women Standing Our Ground Rally next Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Greenfield, MA - in solidarity with the women who will be marching in Washington, D.C., Boston, MA, and many cities all around our country. I will be wearing my clergy collar, and identifying myself not only as a woman who stands with other women, but as a clergy person who stands with them also.

The Rev. Jamie Green Klopotoski writes: To be perfectly honest, I have been wrestling with the idea of participating in the Women's March since I first heard about it after the election. But something inside of me was holding me back. Part of me was afraid. Afraid of a shooting, a bombing, a rogue truck driving through the crowd. Afraid of being stampeded, getting lost, ending up hurt and alone. But then two things happened. Read her post

The Rev. Susan Cartmell writes: In a few days I will be in Washington DC participating in the Women's March. The decision to go almost came as a relief, because I was ready to do more than fret or fume on Facebook.  Read her post

Read more responses on our #WhyIMarch page

Called To Be The Church
Massachusetts Conference leaders have received scores of requests for "help" as our pastors lead their congregations and step into their pulpits in a time such as this.  A new section of the website is now dedicated to this topic. Some of what it includes: 
Be The Church in a Time Such As This

Jim Antal
By The Rev. Dr. Jim Antal
Conference Minister & President 

YES!  Let us begin with "Yes!" - embracing our call "at a time such as this."
We have been called as humble yet bold emissaries of God's truth at a time when history itself is swinging on a hinge. However many years you have ministered in Christ's name, your leadership amidst the challenges we now face is likely what will distinguish your service.

Read Jim's entire letter to clergy

100 DAYS OF ACTION - Join this National Movement

100 Days of Action
Jim Antal writes: 

This is an opportunity to stay connected, focused and engaged over the next 100 days. Our friends at the Convergence Network will connect you each day with hundreds of other progressive Christians and congregations by providing you with a daily curriculum focusing on the four goals of the progressive movement: People, Poverty, Planet, and Peace.

Read More

A New Era in the Climate Justice Movement Begins on January 20th at Noon

Jim Antal writes: 

Interfaith prayer vigils focusing on climate justice will be held all across the nation over the course of 100 hours beginning on noon January 20th.  This is a prayerful antidote to the climate denying fossil-fuel promoting administration that will be sworn into office at that time.  

Read More

New UCC Video Emphasizes Interfaith Unity
The National setting of the United Church of Christ today released a video,  and accompanying study guides, that "aim to shine a light on religious bigotry in a unique way- by depicting religious leaders of different faiths experiencing the power of walking in one another's shoes - and into one another's houses of worship."

Read more and see the video.
Deadline for submitting Annual Meeting resolutions
The deadline for submitting resolutions to the 2017 Annual Meeting is Feb. 16, 2017. Resolutions may be related to procedure, courtesy, structure and organization, or issues of conviction. The Annual Meeting is being held June 16 - 17, 2017, at the Connecticut Convention Center, Hartford, CT.
Learn more
Upcoming Conference events

Feb. 10 - 11 Prindle Pond, Charlton
Mar. 10 - 11, Prindle Pond, Charlton
Mar. 17 - 18, Berkshire Outdoor Center, Becket
These retreats are offered for confirmation classes and their leaders.

Feb. 25, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Centre Congregational Church, Lynnfield
Mar. 25, 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Edwards Church,  Northampton
An opportunity to focus on four foundational theories of religious education while creating one's own personal theory for use in the church setting, and acquiring the tools for adapting, revising, and using these theories in local church programming, community life, and for forming the faith. Part of the CE Certification Program, this workshop is open to all.

March 3 - 5
Craigville Retreat Center, Craigville
Teens grade 6-12 are invited to join us for a weekend retreat as we journey to the heart of Lent.  Through art, music, writing, and movement, we'll explore how we can use this season to grow in love for ourselves, our loved ones, our enemies, the earth, and God. 

Brian McLaren
Super Saturday!
March 18, 8:00 AM - 3:45 PM
Minnechaug Regional High School, Wilbraham, MA
A full day of workshops and networking. Keynote speaker will be author, storyteller, and theologian.Brian McLaren.

March 29, 5:30 - 8:00 PM
Edwards House Meeting Center, Framingham
A day of covenant for those clergy engaged in specialized ministries.

Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry Step Two: The Work of the Congregation
April 3 - 7
Edwards House Meeting & Retreat Center, Framingham
For those who have taken step one of the Fundamentals of Transitional Ministry Training.  

Space for 15 youth and 3 adults!
June 30 - July 5
Baltimore, MD
make glad_
This event is for young leaders ages 13 to 18 who want to experience the vibrant diversity of the wider church.  Registration now open!

See more at:
The Rev. Mr. Thomas P. Howard
The Rev. Mr. Thomas P. Howard, 90, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his family on January 8, 2017.  The Rev. Howard served as  minister of the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Merrimac and the Franklin Federated Church in Franklin. Later, he served as an Interim Minister at several Massachusetts Conference churches including those in Uxbridge, Charlton, and Ware. 

A Memorial Service will be held Sunday, January 29, 2017 at 2:00 PM, at Park Avenue Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, Arlington, MA.
Other Events of Interest
Leadership for Growing Resilient Congregations
Feb. 10 - 11
UCC Congregational Church of Boxborough

Dedicated to "inoculating" communities with greater resilience in order to respond to conflict and adversity in life-giving ways, this day-and-a-half workshop is designed for teams of pastor and lay leaders. Led by the Rev. Karen Nell Smith.
The Massachusetts Conference, United Church of Christ